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Veterans' Preference

Veterans' Preference gives eligible veterans preference in appointment over many other applicants. Veterans' preference applies to virtually all new appointments in both the competitive and excepted service. Veterans' preference does not guarantee veterans a job and it does not apply to internal agency actions such as promotions, transfers, reassignments and reinstatements.

Veterans' preference can be confusing. The law we follow in Federal civilian employment can be found in title 5, United States Code, Section 2108 ( 5 USC 2108). Not all veterans are considered veterans for the purpose of Federal civilian employment, and not all active duty service is qualifying for veterans' preference.

Only veterans discharged or released from active duty in the armed forces under honorable conditions are eligible for veterans' preference. This means you must have been discharged under an honorable or general discharge.

If you are a "retired member of the armed forces" you are not included in the definition of preference eligible unless you are a disabled veteran OR you retired below the rank of major or its equivalent.

 

Types of Veterans' Preference

There are basically two types of preference eligibles, disabled (10 point preference eligible) and non-disabled (5 point preference eligible).

You are a 5 point preference eligible if your active duty service meets any of the following:

  • 180 or more consecutive days, any part of which occurred during the period beginning September 11, 2001 and ending on a future date prescribed by Presidential proclamation or law as the last date of Operation Iraqi Freedom, OR
  • Between August 2, 1990 and January 2, 1992, OR
  • 180 or more consecutive days, any part of which occurred after January 31, 1955 and before October 15, 1976, OR
  • In a war, campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized or between April 28, 1952 and July 1, 1955.

You are a 10 point preference eligible if you served at any time, and you:

  • have a service connected disability, OR
  • received a Purple Heart.

If you are not sure of your preference eligibility, visit the Department of Labor's Veterans' Preference Advisor website for more information.

Now that we have discussed your preference eligibility and the associated points, let's discuss preference groups. Preference eligibles are divided into four basic groups as follows:

  • CPS - Disability rating of 30% or more (10 points)
  • CP - Disability rating of at least 10% but less than 30% (10 points)
  • XP - Disability rating less than 10% (10 points)
  • TP - Preference eligibles with no disability rating (5 points)

NOTE: Disabled veterans receive 10 points regardless of their disability rating.